Of all the sights we saw in Italy, the Leaning Tower of Pisa was one of the most amazing. I never realized just how big it was. When we first saw it, my wife thought it looked like a huge elegant wedding cake. For me, I pondered just how long it would take before it crashed.
When our guide explained how the tower got that way, and what they did to stop it from leaning anymore, his words pulled my eyes off the tower and on to him.
Having once been a builder by trade, understanding why the tower was leaning was easy. The ground was soft, and it didn’t have a proper foundation.
When it came to how they had stopped it from falling, that I found interesting. After intensive calculations, the strategic removal of some earth, and by adding 800 tons of lead counterweights, the tower was stopped from its slow but steady fall. In addition, the engineers recommended straightening the tower to relieve some the intense pressure it was under.
Though the people of Pisa agreed to it, they didn’t want to straighten it completely. The reason was obvious. Tourism. Yep, if they totally fixed it, Pisa’s popularity would quickly fade.
It reminds me of what happens with some people. There’s no doubt they are crashing, and need help, but ultimately they don’t want to be fixed; just preserved.
The reason? Often it’s because they’ve learned how to get attention through the very things that are destroying them. To fix those areas would mean letting go of something that appears to be helping them. Here’s the simple truth.
When we allow our current failures to define who we really are, we err. In essence, what we are saying is, God meant me to be this way and I should learn to celebrate it. Sadly, nothing could be further from the truth.
Though letting go of a false self-image and certain false securities can be scary, it’s nowhere near as bad as living a life of constant strain and stress as a result of being so far out of balance.
When I think about giving up false securities in order to receive God’s help, I go right to the story of blind Bartimaeus in the Bible. Clinging to his beggar’s cloak—a sort of status symbol used to solicit money from the people—the day Jesus called to him, Bartimaeus threw off his cloak and reached for something more—God Himself. When Jesus saw that he was not just asking for temporary relief through a monetary gift, but rather wanted fixing, Bartimaeus’ life was forever changed. God opened his blind eyes and let him see himself the way God intended him to be! That, by the way, is basically the same thing that happened to me.
Bound up in a false self-image, trying to get attention through all the wrong stuff, like the Tower of Pisa crashing, only at a much faster rate, the day I heard Jesus calling, I was a mess. On that day, tired of all the dysfunction and pain, I threw off the old tattered cloak I was clinging to and laid hold of God.
It’s hard to believe that’s been 29 years ago this coming May. Without question, following Him has been the best decision I’ve ever made.
“And Jesus stood still, and commanded him to be called. And they call the blind man, saying unto him, Be of good comfort, rise; He’s calling you. And he, casting away his garment, rose, and came to Jesus.” (Mark 10:49-50)
If you something inside of you spoke while reading this, please re-share.